Japan attracts so many foreigners for innumerable reasons; the culture, nature, the people, job opportunities, study opportunities, and much more! Amongst the excitement of moving to Japan, there are always going to be some challenges (though well worth it). One of these challenges may arise as you are finding apartments for rent in Japan and the additional fees that you may not know about.
Things can be a little harder to navigate when it comes to renting an apartment in Japan as a foreigner because the system of getting an apartment in Japan is likely to vary in some ways to how you rent an apartment in your home country.
In addition to the rent in Japan, there are various additional fees you usually need to pay when getting an apartment in Japan. Whether you are moving to Japan or simply looking for somewhere different to rent in Japan, these costs can sneak up on you.
Some of these include but aren’t limited to a deposit, key money, a renewal fee, and a handling fee. On the flip side, however, you can avoid extra costs by going through agents that waive some of these additional fees. If you would like to find apartments for rent in Japan that don’t have these extra charges, please take a look at our available apartments.
Renting an Apartment in Japan as a Foreigner
There are additional things to consider when first moving to Japan. Renting an apartment in Japan as a foreigner can have its extra challenges since some rental properties don’t allow foreigners to rent – though these are often few and far between.
One of the challenges of renting an apartment in Japan as a foreigner is securing a guarantor. A guarantor is required when you rent in Japan to provide some security if a contract is broken. A guarantor is normally a friend or relative who can vouch for you. If you do not have a Japanese-speaking friend or a relative in the country, then you may be able to use the services of a guarantor company. Some employers also offer to sign as a guarantor when hiring foreign employees. You may also be required to provide an emergency contact, especially if you are using a guarantor company.
If you are looking for foreigner-friendly apartments for rent in Japan, please have a look at our properties that are currently available.
When you are getting an apartment in Japan, you can easily expect to pay four times the amount of your rent in fees in addition to your actual rent, so it is important to be prepared for those initial costs when you are moving to Japan. Below are some of the extra fees you may be expected to pay.
If you are in the process of moving to Japan you might come across an unfamiliar term, ‘key money’. Reikin (礼金), which is translated to key money, is a tradition that originated when there was a shortage of housing. It was originally a payment to the landlord so that tenants could express gratitude for being able to live on the property.
Nowadays, even though there is no shortage of housing, key money is still required for most apartments. Like the deposit, it is charged at the start of the contract, however, unlike a deposit, key money is non-refundable. The amount is usually equivalent to at least one month’s rent, but it can also be two or three months’ rent. It is a large amount of money to pay whilst making a move so it’s important to know ahead of time how much you may need to pay!
Thankfully, there are an increasing number of apartments for rent in Japan that do not require this. If you are getting an apartment in Japan and want to avoid the key money fees, please check out our Village House rental apartments.
The deposit is a fairly standard practice when you rent in Japan, as well as in other countries. Please consult your rental contract to find out about the conditions of the return of your deposit.
Generally, you will get your deposit back unless you have caused any damage to the apartment. However, a cleaning fee, a fee to change the locks, or even a fee to clean the air-conditioning unit can be taken out of this.
The deposit charge is usually equivalent to one month’s rent although this can vary.
Another one of the potentially unexpected charges when renting an apartment in Japan as a foreigner is a renewal fee. If you would like to renew your contract once you reach the end of it, you may have to pay kōshinryō (更新料), which is a renewal fee. The renewal fee is also normally one month’s rent.
If a real estate company is used in the process of getting an apartment in Japan, you will probably have to pay a handling fee. This is also called a brokerage fee and like many of the other additional fees, the handling fee also tends to be the equivalent of one month’s rent. The handling fee actually cannot be more than the amount of one month’s rent.
The cleaning fee is a charge you will probably have to pay at the end of your contract. At the end of a rental contract, the landlord or agency will pay professional cleaners to clean the apartment and this is not something that you can just do yourself instead.
The cleaning fee is normally taken out of the deposit, so it’s best not to expect to get all of your deposit back.
As well as these fees, sometimes you can be charged a maintenance fee, insurance, or a parking fee, but this isn’t always the case! Besides that, though there are various rental services where you will need to pay a lot of these fees, there are also agencies and services offering apartments for rent in Japan without all these upfront costs so please make sure to look around!